Pope beams in Sydney

In a celebration of the start of WYD, organisers last night projected images of Pope Benedict and the Australian outback on Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The Herald-Sun reports a light show, made up of 20 images beamed onto the bridge's southern pylon, was switched on at dusk yesterday by New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma.

The images include words welcoming Catholic pilgrims to Sydney, depictions of Pope Benedict XVI waving, and a kangaroo on a sun drenched white beach.

The light show will play every night from 5.15pm (AEST) until midnight throughout the week long Catholic event.

"We are continuing Sydney's great tradition of incorporating the Harbour Bridge into our community's celebrations," Mr Iemma said.

WYD visas

Meanwhile, more than 30 Indian youths have disappeared in New Zealand, where they were in transit to go to Sydney for World Youth Day, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Church said on Monday.

Lyndsay Freear told Radio New Zealand that a party of 220 Indian Catholics who arrived in Auckland a week ago were due to fly to Sydney on Tuesday, but 32 of them had disappeared.

All were billeted with church members in Auckland under a so-called Days in the Diocese programme before going to Australia, where Pope Benedict arrived on Sunday for events associated with World Youth Day.

Freear said all the Indian pilgrims had been given 30-day visas when they arrived so they would not be in the country illegally until they expired, but their disappearance was "most extraordinary and most disappointing."

She said the 32 who had disappeared from their billets did not have their passports with them and added, "We don't know whether this was planned or spontaneous."She said that New Zealand immigration officials had been advised.

However, 33 pilgims from Burma have arrived after receiving their visas Friday.

Thirty three pilgrims, six priests, three mauve nuns - each left a Burma where churches cannot be rebuilt and large gatherings are still outlawed.

"Before we came here, we all had to sit together and talk about [asylum]. If we had that sort of plan, we are told we could not come here," Father Philip Shwe, who accompanied the pilgrims, said of the late accreditation from the Australian Government.

"People from poor countries would like to stay here. They don't want that to happen, so they want to make sure that we go back to Burma."

SOURCE

Pope, kangaroo light up Harbour Bridge (Herald Sun, 15/7/08)

More than 30 Indian youths disappear in New Zealand (Earthtimes, 15/7/08)

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